One of the most recognizable female amateurs in the game may have violated the terms of her amateur status following her appearance in an Apple Watch ad.
Lucy Li, most famous for qualifying for the U.S. Women’s Open in 2014 at age 11 and currently ranked No. 9 in the most recent World Amateur Golf Ranking as a 16-year-old, is being investigated by the USGA to determine if her participation in the Apple campaign could have violated the Rules of Amateur Status.
Li’s 15-second spot, which has been shared on social media and appears on the company’s website, features Li playing golf and other activities while wearing an Apple Watch.
Sit less. Move more. Get some exercise. Apple Watch owners like Lucy make it their goal to do all three every day. Learn more.
— Apple (@Apple) January 2, 2019
Li told GolfDigest.com that she could not discuss the ad because of a non-disclosure agreement she signed with Apple, but her mother conveyed that neither Lucy nor the family received any compensation for her appearance.
Even still, the absence of compensation does not fully clear Li’s name.
Rule 6-2 of the Amateur Status reads, “An amateur golfer of golf skill or reputation must not use that skill or reputation to obtain payment, compensation, personal benefit or any financial gain, directly or indirectly, for (i) promoting, advertising or selling anything, or (ii) allowing his name or likeness to be used by a third party for the promotion, advertisement or sale of anything.
“In the context of this Rule, even if no payment or compensation is received, an amateur golfer is deemed to receive a personal benefit by promoting, advertising or selling anything, or allowing his name or likeness to be used by a third party for the promotion, advertisement or sale of anything.”
Lucy Li, No. 1 ranked junior in Golfweek/Sagarin rankings, recently appeared in an Apple Watch ad… this could have an affect on her amateur status.https://t.co/gjOAA9DKAo
— Lance Ringler (@GolfweekRingler) January 5, 2019
The USGA told GolfDigest.com that they were made aware of the video on Friday and were looking into any possible action that would need to be made.
“We are at the beginning of the fact-finding stage, and it’s premature at this stage to discuss more,” the USGA spokesperson said. “Lucy’s family has been fully cooperative, and we are thankful for the dialogue.”